'Vacation consultant' takes the luxury out of de luxe travel

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 March, 2010, 12:00am

According to private travel designer Lorenzo Urra: luxury is pass?, experiential travel is what A-list clients want. The vacation consultant (pictured) hosted a cocktail event at the Kee Club on Thursday to introduce to other travel industry partners and potential clients the services of his exclusive and bespoke outfit Global Nomad. What do they do? Let's just say their tours don't have guides holding a flag and there are no buses stopping at souvenir shops.

'We totally customise a trip,' Urra explained. 'If clients want to close a museum for them to enjoy privately, we do it. But often it's beyond luxury. The people who use our service are not just about the fanciest hotel or restaurants. They want to connect to communities and come back changed. Travel now is not a luxury, it is essential to them driven by things they want to do in life. They want culturally authentic experiences and it has to be meaningful.'

Organising these experiences isn't cheap, but Urra explains it's a US$40 billion industry. The ambitious affluent apparently want to sail in Antarctica, go on pilgrimages to meet religious gurus in remote mystical sites and float in zero gravity. Well, at least the ones in Europe and America do. 'Asia is still behind the curve. Here, they're still about luxury ... It's still about showing off. They're stuck in aspirational.' Yep, that's why they served champagne and fancy nibbles at the reception.